By James Reid
Double Olympic medallist Georgia Taylor-Brown believes a turbulent Tokyo has steeled her to attack a golden summer of triathlon on home soil.
The 28-year-old won individual silver and mixed relay gold at her debut Olympics last year despite struggling with injuries.
A flat tyre at a crucial stage of the bike leg saw Taylor-Brown’s worst fears come true. Taylor-Brown admitted she was wracked with worry ahead of her Olympic races but has now proven to herself that she can compete at the very top of her sport.
“I’m definitely a stronger athlete,” said the Manchester-born star.
— Georgia Taylor-Brown (@georgiatb) March 8, 2022
“I was really nervous going into the Games, the most nervous that I have been.
“I felt sick to the point where I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t sleep for the two nights before and I never envisioned the perfect race in my head, and something always goes wrong for me.
“I've been at the very top level of sport at the Olympics and I dealt with that well and even with the injury it shows how amazing the body is.
“I had one of my best races at the Olympics and it shows what you can do under little training.
“It’s mind over matter and then you can be in space and win it by having a clear head.
“Every time you get another injury you learn more about your body and what you can and can’t cope with.”
The north-west star won silver behind Flora Duffy of Bermuda at the Olympics and then again at the final World Triathlon Championship Series race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Taylor-Brown and Duffy will be among the star attractions as they face off again at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
She said: “I do feel the pressure, not so much from other people but from myself because I think if I did it in Tokyo then what stops me from doing it again?
“You do put a lot of pressure on yourself, any athlete does because we train hard and want to do well and we have all of these aims.
“But then in the same sense I’ve just come off from a massive year with the Olympics and everything that comes around that with injuries and emotions and usually you would get a rest period of a year where you don’t have to think about sport and we’ve not been able to have that.
“I try not to put that pressure on myself, and I just think that every race I go into that I just have to be the best in that race.
“Every race might be different and if I give my best then that’s all I can do, whether that means coming first or last on the day, I know that I did my best and that's all I can do.
The return of AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds in June will precede August’s Commonwealth Games.
Taylor-Brown won the event in Leeds in 2019 , with this year being competed over a sprint distance and also hosting a mixed relay for the first time, doubling Taylor-Brown’s anticipation to race in front of a home crowd.
— Georgia Taylor-Brown (@georgiatb) April 26, 2022
She said: “The crowds are going to be incredible this summer.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it and racing again. I’ve heard Birmingham is quite a challenging course and there have been some road relays going on in there at the moment and I’ve heard it's very hilly.
“I’m really excited about Leeds because I missed out last year so I’m excited to get onto the new course.
“This year it’s a sprint distance and it will be even faster racing and it goes a different direction.”
Reflecting on her experience of mixed relay, she added: “There’s less pressure on the relay because I know the rest of the team will perform well and we have a clear plan in our head about what we need to do, and it will be great in Leeds because we know the crowds will be amazing.”
Swim, bike, run in Britain will have a 2022 to remember with AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on 11-12 June, triathlon and paratriathlon at Birmingham Commonwealth Games on 29 and 31 July, and World Triathlon Para Series Swansea on 6 August. https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/major-events